A Wave of Happiness/Don Comes to Visit

Whatever you do, do with kindness.
Whatever you say, say with kindness.
Wherever you go, radiate kindness.
– Jonathan Lockwood Huie

 

YOUR TEACUP IS FULL-A ZEN STORY

Once, a long time ago, there was a wise Zen master. People from far and near would seek his counsel and ask for his wisdom. Many would come and ask him to teach them, enlighten them in the way of Zen. He seldom turned any away.

One day an important man, a man used to command and obedience came to visit the master. “I have come today to ask you to teach me about Zen. Open my mind to enlightenment.” The tone of the important man’s voice was one used to getting his own way.

The Zen master smiled and said that they should discuss the matter over a cup of tea. When the tea was served the master poured his visitor a cup. He poured and he poured and the tea rose to the rim and began to spill over the table and finally onto the robes of the wealthy man. Finally the visitor shouted, “Enough. You are spilling the tea all over. Can’t you see the cup is full?”

The master stopped pouring and smiled at his guest. “You are like this tea cup, so full that nothing more can be added. Come back to me when the cup is empty. Come back to me with an empty mind.”

A few nights ago, a friend from Arizona came to spend the night..he was on his way to Colorado to visit his sister and our place was a good place to stop and rest.

I had been feeling kind of sad and drained of energy from an experience that happened the day before. I had been really looking forward to meeting with someone about my loss and grief mini workshops that I am planning to offer in northern New Mexico. At one time, I presented these workshops in cities and towns all over the US but I had taken a long break and now I felt ready to begin them again. If you’re interested, you can read about them here.

So I looked forward to meeting with this person–I felt she would be a kindred spirit- and I had brought my book of memorialsmatthew for sah copy copy that were made by people in the workshops, and other things to show her..but she didn’t like me. Every time I tried to say something, she interrupted and in every way she could, she discounted my experience, even telling me that Elisabeth Kubler-Ross’s work was completely irrelevant. “She was a pioneer in her day” she said in a superior and condescending manner “But we don’t use her work in OUR bereavement groups.”

ekr at workshop copy

Dr. Elisabeth Kubler-Ross    Elisabeth Kübler-Ross was a Swiss-American psychiatrist, a pioneer in near-death studies and the author of the groundbreaking book On Death and Dying

Elisabeth was my friend and the most significant teacher in my life, as she was for thousands of people worldwide. I wouldn’t be here today if it weren’t for her and this woman’s words cut into me. And though she kept smiling and telling me ‘Good Luck’ as she hurried me out the door, I knew she would do whatever she could to discount me in this small town. An image appeared in my mind of something I had seen years before, the image of something I had seen happen at the Apollo Theater in Harlem….when the audience didn’t like a performer, someone came with a broom and literally swept him or her off the stage. And sure enough, I got an email the next day from someone who had previously contacted me and set up a meeting, saying in so many words that she was busy from now until forever and would not be able to meet.

 True listening is a rare skill. Usually, the greater part of a person’s attention is taken up by their thinking. At best, they may be evaluating your words or preparing the next thing to say. Or they may not be listening at all, lost in their own thoughts.

~Eckhart Tolle

 

After I left the woman’s house, I went to get some lunch. Not having much money these days, I don’t eat out very often but when I do it’s a special occasion. So I was looking forward to having lunch as a way of comforting myself when I sat down in a restaurant I liked, prepared to order Southwest Grilled Chicken Salad. But there was no peace….every where I looked there was a huge TV blaring. I moved to what I thought was a quite corner and just as I was about to take a bite of my salad, I looked to my left and there was another TV with a huge, bare butt taking up most of the screen. I couldn’t believe it……I looked again..yes that’s what it was..a show about butt injections and it went on to show the procedure.

I left disgusted and repulsed and I realized this day was in part, about not listening….people who can’t or won’t listen, restaurants with TVs everywhere making it impossible to listen, even if you want to.

So this was my state of my mind….sad, drained and tired of humans ….when Don walked into our house.

But the second he came in the door, everything changed as a wave of Happiness entered with him, as if it blew in. It wasn’t anything he did or said..it was him, his energy…happiness, kindness, humor..listening. We had a nice fire in the wood stove and Jody [the Brown Piglet in this blog] and Don and I sat by the fire laughing and talking for hours.

Don left the next morning early but he left me with the realization of how our energy affects everyone around us….like ripples in the water, it reaches out and out in ways we aren’t even aware of….hurting or comforting….bringing happiness or sadness…joy or anger…a Very Powerful Force that we all have available to us…

don!!!

Below is an audio clip of the spiritual teacher, Eckhart Tolle talking about how to deal with people who hurt you…..another way of seeing and very helpful

 If you would like to contribute to the continuation of this blog, you can do so here.

Thank you and May the Force be with You

Moving On from #METOO… PLEASE! [Mother Grandpon and the Catacombs]

I think this is just a short post and not something I would usually write but enough is enough.

There’s an old world that is dying–it is characterized by greed, extreme materialism, self absorption, hate, blame, revenge, violence and insanity. I think almost everyone can see this.

There’s a new world, a New Earth coming in and in part, it’s characterized by compassion, kindness, community, personal responsibility, caring for the Earth and working to make the world a better place. [the WORLD not America]

Blaze-Nathan-BernsteinA month or so ago  Blaze Bernstein, a 19 year old,  University of Pennsylvania student was brutally murdered by a ‘friend’  He was home on Winter Break and was missing from his parents’ house. When his body was found a week later, he had been stabbed more than 20 times. And his parents made this statement:

“We won’t succumb to hate, bitterness or disillusionment; we will use wisely the time we have left together. When we stop crying we will start doing positive things to affect change. We ask that everyone work towards something good. Stop being complacent. Do something now.

Now is the time to set aside fear, ignorance and judgement. It is time to love. Love each other. Be good. Do good and honor Blaze’s memory.”

~Jeanne and Gideon Bernstein

Then a few days ago, I happened to watch a segment on the sentencing of Dr. Larry Nasser. One of his abuse victims was reading a statement in which she talked about how she cried every night [still after 15 plus years???!!!] and she was not able to work because of the abuse. After she finished her statement, her father who was at the proceedings, lunged at Larry Nasser but was stopped by the guards. The father later made a statement in which he droned on and on about the whole situation. His statement was filled with anger and bitterness and hatred.

When I was  watching this, I thought of the Bernsteins and I thought about how they had turned the worst possible nightmare a parent could ever experience into something for good, for others, for the world. Revenge and hate would have been expected, accepted and supported but they chose another way and in doing so have inspired many, many others to choose another way. @dogoodforblaze

*I taped the Bernsteins statement to my refrigerator as a reminder to myself…when I”m feeling mean, judgemental, revengeful, I will read and remember. There’s another way.

A few days ago, when I saw one of the ‘metoo’ storiesHip GrandmaI thought about my stepmother and I laughed. My stepmother who we called Mother Grandpon, prided herself in coming from what she called ‘a nice family’. She loved playing bridge, shopping, drinking vodka martinis and going to parties. She lived to be 91.

There was a story she liked to tell: it was the story of when she was a teenager visiting the catacombs in Rome and a monk pinched her butt as she was touring the catacombs. She thought it was funny and we did too.  I tried to imagine her now joining ‘metoo’ dredging up an ancient story, crying and feeling offended because now you can be offended by the tiniest thing.  But it would never have happened.

So I guess this is about choices: the choice to keep the cycle of hate and revenge going which is reaching out and poisoning everyone and everything, including the Earth itself or the choice to take personal responsibility, to accept what comes, to work toward making the difficult, painful things that are bound to happen.. into something to learn from, maybe as a way to help others… and to remember to

“Accept whatever comes to you woven in the pattern of your destiny, for what could more aptly fit your needs?”

Marcus Aurelius, Roman Emperor  161 -180

angelou

 

KINDNESS, SURRENDER…and Blaze

“Accept whatever comes to you woven in the pattern of your destiny, for what could more aptly fit your needs?”

Marcus Aurelius, Roman Emperor  161 -180

You will find rest from vain fancies if you perform every act in life as though it were your last.

Marcus Aurelius, Roman Emperor  161–180

“We won’t succumb to hate, bitterness or disillusionment; we will use wisely the time we have left together. When we stop crying we will start doing positive things to affect change. We ask that everyone work towards something good. Stop being complacent. Do something now.

~Jeanne and Gideon Bernstein

stained glass prayer

This morning I was sitting in my rainbow room–my small sun-room which among other things, contains stained glass, hanging crystals, geraniumssunroombrightgeraniums..

ALTAR GOLDaltars that I’ve created andPHANTOM:SWING CHAIR

a hanging chair which I share with my cat Phantom..

I’ve been sitting in the rainbow room a lot lately, thinking about things, feeling like I should be doing something and not wanting to do anything.

Difficult to put into words–my thoughts…but they mostly have to do with surrender, acts of kindness, choices and the shift that’s happening as the old world dies and the ‘New Earth’ comes in.

As things have been extremely challenging in my life these past 2 years, I’ve been forced to look inward as my outer world crumbled. I couldn’t buy things that I wanted, couldn’t go out to eat, sometimes had very little food, couldn’t fix things that broke, not enough gas to go anywhere…Surrender to what is….there’s no other choice.

And so I struggled to find hope, find the positive, move out of anger and bitterness..and into SURRENDER. [It isn’t easy]

There are a few things that have helped me the most: listening to the spiritual teacher, Eckhart Tolle, working on arts and crafts projects and reading the stories of people who have survived the greatest difficulties,  the greatest suffering….those who have gone through ‘the tumbler of life and come out polished’.

“The most beautiful people we have known are those who have known defeat, known suffering, known struggle, known loss, and have found their way out of the depths.
These persons have an appreciation, a sensitivity, and an understanding of life that fills them with compassion, gentleness, and a deep loving concern.
Beautiful people do not just happen.”
― Elisabeth Kübler-Ross

Blaze-Nathan-BernsteinLast week  I read a story that I could not get out of my mind. It was the story of 19 year old, University of Pennsylvania student, Blaze Bernstein who was brutally murdered a few weeks ago by a ‘friend’. He was missing from his parents home in southern California and after a week of searching, his body was discovered in a shallow grave in a park near his home. He had been stabbed 20 times.

This is a story of horror, violence, insanity…what we read in the ‘news’ every day, what we are becoming immune to. Violence begets more violence, hate begets more hate…on and on the cycle continues. Blame is always placed on someone or something else. Personal responsibility is not encouraged and for many this has become the expected and accepted way.

A vicious murder of a beloved child, in this case one who was known as a brilliant teenager with…..a generous and gentle heart, is the very worst nightmare a parent can experience but Blaze’s parents chose a unique way of responding.  From the time that his body was found, his parents made the statement that they would not give in to hate or revenge.  Instead they wrote:

“We won’t succumb to hate, bitterness or disillusionment; we will use wisely the time we have left together. When we stop crying we will start doing positive things to affect change. We ask that everyone work towards something good. Stop being complacent. Do something now.

Now is the time to set aside fear, ignorance and judgement. It is time to love. Love each other. Be good. Do good and honor Blaze’s memory.”

~Jeanne and Gideon Bernstein

 

And Blaze’s father went on to say that he felt this must have happened for a reason.

This seems a life changing understanding and because Blaze’s story has reached so many thousands of people and will continue to, this understanding can be life changing for many…it seems to me to be the way of the New Earth which is coming in now: Surrender, Kindness, refusing to give in to hate…..make the world a better place.

A family friend who knew Blaze though not well wrote:

And while I can’t make up for not knowing him as well as I should have, I can promise this: By performing daily acts of kindness, by rejecting hate and prejudice, and by never again taking a precious human soul for granted, I will never, ever forget him.

~Gary Goldhammer

This is Blaze’s memorial website. It is beautiful in every way..It is a light in the darkness.

*PS Somewhat related: Until a few years ago, I often gave presentations on loss and grief which I called Between Now & Forever. cathedral-me-ttm1 copyI gave these presentations throughout the US, for Hospices, Church and Community Groups, Universities and Rehab Centers as well for National Hospice and Palliative Care Conferences. They were simple, magical and powerful. I always started by showing our award winning documentary, Turning Toward the Morning and followed the film with the opportunity for those who wanted to, to make a memorial for friends or family members. I brought lots of colored markers, crayons, glitter and paper and kids:lourdes:memorialseveryone from small children, to the very elderly

lourdes-memorial

baby f memorial

created beautiful drawings, heartfelt messages and sometimes letters…….lynn memorial

memorial-daddy

I feel that I am now emerging out of 2 years in the ‘tumbler of life’, emerging stronger and with more clarity and I am ready to do these presentations again but I just realized that I want to do them in memory of Blaze Bernstein. They will be different from the ones I did previously because they will include this message from Blaze’s parents: “Now is the time to set aside fear, ignorance and judgement. It is time to love. Love each other. Be good. Do good …”For more information, please email me at fonehome@indian-creek.net.

If you would like to contribute to the continuation of this blog, you can do so here.

Thank you and May the Force be with You.